788 F.2d 395 (6th Cir. 1986), 83-5930, Satterfield v. United States

Docket Nº:83-5930.
Citation:788 F.2d 395
Party Name:Cynthia Elaine SATTERFIELD, Administratrix of the Estate of Charles Arthur Hulstine, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:April 18, 1986
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

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788 F.2d 395 (6th Cir. 1986)

Cynthia Elaine SATTERFIELD, Administratrix of the Estate of

Charles Arthur Hulstine, Plaintiff-Appellant,


UNITED STATES of America, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 83-5930.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

April 18, 1986

Argued Oct. 25, 1985.

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William B. Vest, argued, Hendersonville, Tenn., and Greg Neal, Neal, Stewart & Davis, Shelbyville, Ky., for plaintiff-appellant.

Louis DeFalaise, U.S. Atty., Lexington, Ky., Miles H. Franklin and Bruce E. Kasold, Dept. of the Army, Litigation Atty., and Anthony J. Steinmeyer argued, Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for defendant-appellee.

Before KRUPANSKY and MILBURN, Circuit Judges, and JOINER, District Judge. [*]

KRUPANSKY, Circuit Judge.

In this wrongful death action invoking the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1346(b) and 2671 et seq., (the "FTCA"), plaintiff Satterfield, administratrix of her decedent son's estate, appealed the district court's order dismissing her complaint against defendant United States pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Plaintiff alleged that the death of her son, Private Charles Arthur Hulstine ("Hulstine"), was the direct and proximate result of the Army's negligence in accepting his enlistment and its negligence in failing to supervise his conduct and activities and the conduct and activities of his associates. Since this is an appellate review of a Rule 12(b) dismissal, the allegations of the plaintiff's complaint are required to be taken as true.

At age seventeen, Hulstine sought to enlist in the United States Army. Because Hulstine was a minor, he was required to obtain parental consent which was given in written form by his father. Although the recruiters were aware that his parents were divorced, they did not know that his mother, the plaintiff herein, was his sole legal guardian. Additionally, the recruiters were not aware of Hulstine's psychological and psychiatric history, nor his juvenile criminal record.

Hulstine was enlisted and ordered to Fort Knox, Kentucky for basic training. Personal differences soon developed between Hulstine and Army Privates Bryan Koenig ("Koenig"), Ronald D. Kinman ("Kinman") and Steven J. Adams ("Adams"), each of whom was also assigned to Hulstine's Company. The animosities between the individuals, which involved threats to and physical assaults on Hulstine, were brought to the attention of various supervisory personnel including the Company Commander. On May 30, 1980, weekend leave passes were authorized for Koenig, Kinman, Adams, Hulstine and others. Approximately four hours after having departed the base for the weekend, Hulstine was beaten to death by the three above-named off-duty servicemen. 1

Plaintiff's Complaint averred that pursuant to Army Regulation A.R. 601-210 Chapter 3, the Army recruiters were negligent in failing to determine Hulstine's fitness for military service, and the validity of his father's parental consent to enlist. Plaintiff also asserted that due to the indifference of Hulstine's superiors at Fort Knox, the Army negligently failed to exercise proper supervision and control over Koenig, Kinman, and Adams in violation of A.R. 600-20, and negligently failed to warn and protect Hulstine from the three servicemen who ultimately killed him.

The district court determined that the plaintiff's cause of action was barred by both the Feres doctrine, 2 an exception to the FTCA which precludes recovery from the Government for injuries to servicemen which are incident to service, and by the "intentional tort exception" to the FTCA codified in 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2680(h), which precludes

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liability for claims arising from an assault or battery.

The FTCA provides that the United States shall be liable for "injury or ... death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government ... under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant ..." 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1346(b). The Act "waives the Government's immunity from suit in sweeping language." United States v. Yellow Cab Co., 340 U.S. 543, 547, 71 S.Ct. 399, 402, 95 L.Ed. 523 (1951). "However, this broad waiver of immunity is not without its exceptions." Woodside v. United States, 606 F.2d 134, 138 (6th Cir.1979), cert. denied, 445 U.S. 904, 100 S.Ct. 1080, 63 L.Ed.2d 320 (1980). The two exceptions to the FTCA joined in this appeal are the Feres doctrine and the intentional tort exception.

In Feres, the Supreme Court recognized an exception to the government's tort liability...

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